NABOKV-L post 0015570, Wed, 10 Oct 2007 20:49:55 -0400

You wrote a dissertation on Nabokov’s Ada ...

Complete interview at the following URL:

Cover Story

October 11, 2007

I Wonder What on Earth Possessed Me
A conversation with Bobbie Ann Mason

by Michael Sims

Scene: How did the protagonist of your new book, Nancy Culpepper, materialize in your mind?
Mason: In about 1980 I wrote some notes in a notebook about my grandmother’s photographs, along with the name NANCY CULPEPPER.

[ ... ]

Scene: You wrote a dissertation on Nabokov’s Ada. Your method of creating a character piece by piece reminds me of Nabokov’s method of composing all over the canvas at once on those famous oversize index cards.
Mason: I don’t use index cards, but Nabokov’s kaleidoscopic method of imagining the surfaces is something I identify with. I don’t have a logical mind that can seize a linear narrative. To me, writing is like working a giant jigsaw puzzle, with the pieces mixed up and facing downward. Little by little I discover how they’re put together.
Scene: Do you have an idea of what’s next for you? Or have you already written new work that has yet to be published?
Mason: I don’t have anything new, but I’m working on a novel. I’m in the beginning stages. Usually I flounder around for a year, getting distracted by research (far more than necessary), and procrastinating. This is a miserable and scary process, and I wonder what on earth possessed me. But I recognize this stage and have grown more patient with it. Sooner or later, things start to click and then I get more focused. By the end, I don’t want to quit.

Search the archive:
Search archive with Google:

Contact the Editors:,
Visit Zembla:
View Nabokv-L policies: